2003   MAY 31   #151

Barbie and Ken (Charlotte Austin & Bill Cunningham) - Nobody Taught Me

Barbie has been and done a lot of things over the course of her life, and she shows no sign of slowing down now (even though she's now "fortysomething"). It's not generally remembered that for a brief time in the early 60's, she was a singer! On this swingin' side from 1961, Barbie and Ken (played by Charlotte Austin and Bill Cunningham) give Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Darin a run for their money. What's amazing about this is all the care and expense that went into the making of - what was considered then - an ephemeral children's record. An arrangement worthy of Nelson Riddle, a full-sized orchestra, excellent singers. This is a true classic!

- Stormy Hunter, http://tstormhunter.iuma.com/

TT-3:21 / 3.1MB / 128kbps 44.1khz
from "Barbie Sings" Mattel Records 840-1 (1961)

(Images courtesy of Stormy Hunter)

Eric Wilson writes:
The name "Ken Darby" leapt off the label at me, and for good reason. From the All Movie Guide:

"Ken Darby was a distinguished American composer noted for his excellent film adaptations of Broadway musicals. He shared Oscars with Alfred Newman for his work with The King and I (1956), Camelot (1967), and with Andre Previn for Porgy and Bess (1959). Darby has also written original songs for films during the mid 1950s. He started working with films in the 1940s. Other films he has worked with include South Pacific (1958) and How the West Was Won (1963)." They don't mention the two reasons I REALLY remember him, though. First of all, he was leader of the vocal group the King's Men--not the ones that did "Louie Louie", the ones that spent about 15 years singing novelty and patriotic songs on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, as well as chipping in vocals on certain Disney and MGM cartoons. The other reason is that (under a pseudonym) he wrote "Love Me Tender," the title song for Elvis Presley's first movie, and one of several of the Elvis' #1 records. He also led a more formal group called the Ken Darby Singers, who contributed musically to several popular records of the time, as well as movies and radio. So yes, if Mattel couldn't score Nelson Riddle, they definitely found a substitute with a good pedigree."